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Symphony and symphonic thinking in Polish music after 1956

Boleslawska-Lewandowska, Beata 2009. Symphony and symphonic thinking in Polish music after 1956. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis aims to contribute to the exploration and understanding of the development of the symphony and symphonic thinking in Polish music in the second half of the twentieth century. This was a period when Polish composers, such as Lutoslawski, Grecki and Penderecki, among others, contributed profoundly into the symphonic repertoire, not only in the Polish context but worldwide. To understand the changes and developments of the genre after 1956 in Poland, it is necessary to discuss the evolution of the symphony, as well as its role and functions, both in general and in Polish music. Therefore, Chapter One deals briefly with the history and theory of the genre, from its beginnings in the eighteenth century, through its transformations in the period of Romanticism, marked by the appearance of the concert overture and the symphonic poem until its developments in the twentieth century. Chapter Two examines the symphonic tradition in Poland from its appearance on the Polish musical scene until the middle of the 1950s in the context of trends pointed out in Chapter One. The year 1956, when the first International Festival of Contemporary Music 'Warsaw Autumn' was held, provides a significant caesura, as it was then that Polish music entered its avant-garde period. Chapter Three, which is the most extended, explores the transformation of the symphony and symphonic principles in the years of the musical avant-garde, which was a time of great artistic ferment in Polish music, bringing many interesting reinterpretations of symphonic features. The symphony as a genre was almost entirely neglected, particularly in the first years of musical avant-garde (1956-65), and the elements of symphonic thinking appeared in other orchestral works. Therefore, a considerable amount of space will be devoted to discussing the symphonic music of the period, besides symphonies as such. The avant-garde period is given special attention as the innovations made by Polish composers, both in symphonic form and, even more, in musical language and techniques (particularly sonorism), hugely influenced the later development of symphonic music in Poland. Chapter Four, concluding the thesis, is devoted to the trends which spread over the country from the middle of the 1970s, opening the post-avant-garde era, with its recreation of the large-scale symphony, as well as the symphonic poem, referring back to the late-Romantic traditions on the one hand and aiming to synthesise the experiences of the whole century on the other. The indicated trends and functions of the symphony in this period link back to the categories marked in Chapter One. A short Postscript gives some information on symphonic activity in Poland following the death of Lutoslawski in 1994.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
ISBN: 9781303191039
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 21:31

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